A living ghost is a moment’s grasp from the underworld. Sheathed in writhing emptiness; an abyss that everyone has made of her along with white lace, intertwined dandelions on the holes and darts (the only remnants of the love that she once bound). The dead cannot love — it is upon the cataract time-stop beat, the drawl of the flat-line and the rapid walk unto the “bad wing”. She is the reason why her dying breaths consisted of “keep loving” — why the paper airplanes she folded with bone poking out of skin were etched with “keep living,” why she was smiling, pursed lips and all, your softness against her own. An old discman next to water-filled speakers like a joke against the revolution of technology. During those final hours where she played music and spun brittle yarn emerging from her throes.
I danced with the daughter of the moon on the infinity evening of a Tuesday night. She counted down, like an old grandfather clock — the continuum ring until a new inception. We were ethereal wisps, dreaming across lush innocence tucked into beds or burning under the scorching sun, of mosquitoes picking at their toes, maggots crawling into their gashes. “One and the same,” her tender palm became coarse fire in instants, “we are all one and the same.” Pleasant aromas in one second, the overpowering smell of death, a stuck sore of bronze and old blood blooming into sweet citrus wavering — put in a straitjacket with all the lights on. “This is the world we live in.”
Fire, apocalyptic fire; the tombs of the dead from centuries ago emerging like new in the dead of the day. Anthems for oligarchies, solemn knights, a vision of Jesus Christ — we all bleed from the feet. Pointed downwards in excruciating pain she showed me the way of the Crucifixion and assured me that there would be no Resurrection. Took me to a jungle resurgence, Vietnam rain in the middle of June — dancing daughters among lost fathers, there was hope in the between of the canopies, a little life when the helicopter crashed down and burned in triangles. Took me to passes and caverns where guns were at play, manifesting into wine and beer in dark alleys and scepters to gavels to paint palettes to radiation — I saw the burst of Hiroshima, the death of the Black Plague, the nursery rhymes that we had birthed from oblivion and the bones that our mothers left. Saw the jungle battles, the gas tanks explosions the riptide gushing over — a nostalgic rehearsal of Pompeii where the sky blackened up, became a trillion pink hues; the collision of a car (I found my soul a million miles away) the birth of a song, the finding of fire. I was every person that was ever known, every feeling that had ever been. I witnessed the fall of pearls, discovery of green poison petals, mass extinctions on the verge of myriad prophets, little boys dropping down on suicide missions. Witnessed the Death March with the bodies piled up next to the river bank, orchestrated suicides — all revolutionary, on cyanide and grape juice, courtroom adjudicators on the beat for death and destruction of loving against the world. Girls in classrooms tossed with Bible bumps, maroon singsong paths against the blood of the lamb, walkers of the world dwelling under caverns and landforms, rock formations bleeding inwards and sipping in the dusk of the lamp; she made me go through moonshots, the falling of Canadian bridges and the freezing of hell all over again, seas that emulated the starlight above them and pits of hell that beckoned death and only it, the girl on the cinema reel from crate shipping containers and ghost stories, lot lizards scaled on the epiphany, pressed malice down in the burning of veer and consecration of wine. I saw the rise of Christianity, the loss of Greek mythology, blood and white overcoming the reason and meaning behind philosophy and psychology — gargantuan fears and the little boys living their entire lives in white rooms, genies at play in the medicine cabinet of your aunt. Stolen pill bottles left to bask in the dusk, sunlit stretches of leather on gold, she took me to the waters — the deepest parts undersea where I couldn’t tell if I was blinking or not (or breathing at all), the pinnacles of the earth where I did touch the clouds as they became nothing to me. Mushroom planets and fume-stopping rites; I orchestrated a funeral for my own children and of my fathers and mothers, I made it so beautiful that it would be a service they would never forget.
The daughter of the moon held my hand; she told me about how she loved the earth and everyone in it. She laughs at how when asked what her most favorite thing about the world is. “The same drone of everyone else that you had ever loved,” so be it a game. She asks me to list them down, and she would reply with a yes or a no.
“Yes — but I do like hibiscus flowers more.”
“Yes, doused in sugar and milk.”
“The only certainty.”
“Space? Of course. We are all born from it. We will all return to it, or it shall become us — one way or another.”
We were a drawl of corner sushi joints, old music records, psychological thrillers, vintage maps curled at the corners, grade school textbooks charred at the bottom of the abyss, waterfalls looming over skylines, ceilings of European cathedrals, horizons kissing sense out of every believer, the colorful spectrum of jeepneys and old faces clinging onto sweaty, rusting metal. She fought wars face to face with the clouds, pillars seeking god and the sky. Dips of gold at the bottom of trenches, aquamarine bliss salvaged through dew, coronations in altars that burnt fire and ice, an eye of the storm twirling for a camisado against the night, chalkboards with perfect words, moons looming over highways, a first drink of Coke after the thirst, thrills and rushes seething and seeping into your bones; reverberations mimicking your birthright — something that reminds you that you are whole. Petrichor bliss after the gloom of the day, pedestals and mosaics riveted on dents and thrones, dainty kisses on the cheek as fingers trail down your spines, traced joints in the middle of the road on the midsummer dawn of the night, ash boxes on old family portraits leaked with light rays and blessed by the sun on Sunday afternoons, the final grasps of hand of old lovers before they part forevermore (unbeknownst to them, my dear).
Smoke rings around friends, lies and promises under hotel room lights, juicy bites of savory steak, calculated clockwork in the perfection of math and scents of thyme, salvation rushing to you in the form of vibrations and lights on the front row seats of the end of the world, peaking on infrastructure and industrialization — the fall of humanity at your very grasps as you let go and let loose with only the slightest hint of your ulterior motive shining through. Waking up early in the morning and realizing you still have a few more moments to fall asleep, listening to Light over and over and over until you get sick of it and can no longer hold onto the love that you once had for it, reminiscing on the piano and pouring your heart out on it for nobody but God and the lies built inside of yourself to hear, walking into classroom doors and finally realizing that this is your whole world — thirteen years to have explored, loved, all set in coded numbers and meticulous freshly graduated sleep-deprived narcotic-thriving believers.
The daughter of the moon tossed down a harpoon when I asked her if she was still distraught amidst all the beauty; she refused to answer straightly and simply told me that it was because humanity did not understand the beauty that it held within itself. We were back at the rooftop of a clock tower, the wind threatening to tear me down and my feet dangling with fear throbbing inside of me at a beat of a thousand hits a second. Her hands graced the sky and bounced upon meteors and comets like elementary, she swum upon the deepest and drank cups of iced chocolate on her tiptoes at the pinnacle of the epoch of a new world.
On a crackle of the dawn of night, she weaved away the constellations, spun black holes that swallowed everything within its path, of all things love and of all things invisible. Fingers clasped together and shaking like melodies, she asked me if I thought that this journey was going to last forever.
On a Tuesday night, against the race of time and matter; I waged a war with this daughter. A penumbra shone upon us, she, the exemplar of love and of living. I, the rage of reality and empathy. In wordless dissipation we became crystallized gradients hurtling towards each other and back in motions and springs. Rediscovering words that we had forgotten like meaning, understanding; the sour taste of “medication” clamped down the bottom of my throat, she the sight of something that I had found revolting since the seventh year that I was made to sin in a world already full of it.
With perfect poise and elegance, I had asked the daughter of the moon if she had been through any of these experiences in their fullness. Shapeshifting mistress of the night that relies on shrouds and scars to become a lover when we had been sinking in the mistakes of the world since the very beginning. She does not respond.
I bow against her, the memories of everything terrible coursing through me; gastronomic surges, electricity dancing through my hair, static booming for the reasons of life and loss.
Daughter of the moon, you do not know why we are millions.
A millennium of living and only a handful have recognized that we must return to the stardust, hearts of which we were borne. Crystallized sorrows in soul bottle dew and meaningless words for the drug-induced to seek and love.
Daughter of the moon, you do not see the death in which beauty has arisen from.
Loss, envy, greed. Temperamental hues fight back against a world that it had deceived. Caustic fume, I too, am a daughter of the moon. Imminent black, void of which I know that life is no longer an oasis that it once pictured itself out to be. Gangrel colonel of the living, a wicker in the midst of reason. She has become nothing, as the world was a provision of its entirety.
I am voices talking to no one, the fleeting drum of seas, tidal waves on the coattails of burning pyres — daughter of the moon, you fail to see the inherent self-destruction on the other side of the beauty. Sorrow and pain has moved the world and space itself in so many ways that you may never quite know, a selfish waltz against turmoil that we thrive on for curated passions and purity. We seek to beseech the ones who have fallen in love with all but garlands of angst, pain in passion, sorrow clouded, empathetic glances.
She asks me what choice I make. The same question that she had asked billions before her; I take the lamplight in my palms and curdle it into ember hallucination. For the first time, I am the opposite: the one who had fed the beast, who dared to live past the underworld, the crushing grind of teeth and malice. I, wrist of blood and scar and false accusations — had pushed through with it. In chorus with the millions of others we had preached, “I want to die.”
Daughter of the moon, paragon poised illuminated by a penumbra evening dawn, heed my word.
The world is a damned place for the beautiful and worse for the wicked. No longer do I live on streets where I seek to sell my body for empathy and cover my mouth in humility — bathside pool and the box cutter friend, lipstick stains on strangers to ignite the red of bronze bubbles further. Pinnacle of life, it is no longer worth living — a shackled girl on the tidal collapse of tomorrow. A false lesson made to teach only to kill; the teachers that had raised me taught me how to tie the noose, how to cut vertically rather than horizontally, to drown in peace. It will only hurt if you fight back, it will only hurt if you resist.
Wonder, I am the shadow against the moon — a figure made a mockery of in the child’s play visions of the Tuesday eventide. It is only when we realize, that as a world, dying is beautiful and infinite, that it is not a joke but a testament — matrimony for peace and silence, that we will be forgotten and never remembered and this is our mission — I breathe.
I learned my lesson. I devastated the family. I kissed the daughter of the moon goodbye — for she is so innocent, of rose without thorn; blush-stained lips.
She still believes in life when I never had mine.